Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:37 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 8:45 pm

Tennessee grabs two commits, hopes for momentum

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's surprising to see Tennessee, of all programs, near the bottom of the SEC commitment list, but Vols fans and coaches are hopeful two recent commits are the start of a little momentum on the recruiting trail. 

Jackson (Tenn.) wide receiver Drae Bowles and Dunwoody (Ga.) receiver Justin King had both verbally pledged to the program by Monday afternoon and, in one fell swoop, doubled Tennessee's recruiting class.

"I just felt like it was the best decision for me and my family," Bowles told VolQuest.com. "Tennessee's been with me from day one. They offered me my sophomore year and others didn't offer me until my junior year. I just felt like part of the family when I went up there to visit. They just showed me nothing but love."

"I took a visit there Saturday with my parents and a teammate and my little brother and we really just fell in love with everything there, from an academics standpoint to an athletics standpoint," King added. "And I feel like the resources they have there for athletes are just amazing. I came home thinking UT and I woke up this morning feeling like UT is the best place for me."

Both players moved up their timetables to commit to the Vols but at the end of the day, they found the school that was the best fit and allows them to focus on their upcoming senior year.

"I feel like me making the decision before the season takes a lot of the stress from me," Bowles said. "I'm not having to worry about or feel any pressure. I'm just going to be the normal Drae and I don't feel like I have to overdo anything. I just want to be the normal person I am and work hard and lead up the young guys, most importantly." 

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bowles and the 6-foot-3, 215-pound King give Tennessee four total commitments for the class of 2012.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:59 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 8:09 pm

Maye is number 15 for Florida

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Most years, Florida picks up several commitments during the program's annual 'Friday Night Lights' summer camp, which takes place on July 22nd this year. Melbourne (Fla.) safety Marcus Maye decided he just couldn't wait to be a Gator and made his commitment to the school public on Monday afternoon.

"I have known for a couple of months that Florida was the place for me, but I wanted to get my family to Florida and for them to be there when I made it official," Maye told InsidetheGators.com.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back joins fellow safety Rhaheim Ledbetter in Florida's class of 2012, and it appears the two are already figuring out how they'll team up in orange and blue.

"I think me and Ledbetter will be very good in the secondary together," Maye said. "I'm glad to have another great athlete in the secondary with me. I hope to speak with him sometime today so we can get to know each other." 

The Gators are still looking to add several other defensive backs to their class and could end up with more commitments on Friday.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:43 pm

Second running back on board for Auburn

Posted by Bryan Fischer

With the season fast approaching, many recruits are using the lull between the end of summer camps and the start of fall camps to take a few unofficial visits. Memphis (Tenn.) running back Jovon Robinson took advantage and visited Auburn over the weekend and liked the school so much, he decided that it was the perfect fit for him and committed.

"It feels great. It's the greatest feeling in the world. I know that I am confident in my decision," Robinson told AuburnSports.com. "I have been around Auburn long enough to see what they are trying to accomplish and I think I will be a good asset in what that are trying to do and I want to be on board."

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound back also held offers from Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Penn State and others. Robinson joins fellow running back T.J. Yeldon in the Tigers' recruiting class and feels as though the two will make for a very good combination once they reach the Plains.

"It's scary how good we compliment each other," said Robinson. "I watched his highlight tape on Rivals and he did this juke move on this player and I was like, "wow…this is the guy I'm going to be in the backfield with?' It puts a smile on my face that neither one of us will have to carry the load. We can compliment each other and just have fun.

Robinson is the 11th commitment overall for Auburn, eight of whom are on offense.
Posted on: July 10, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 8:09 pm

Roland gives S.C. another big in-state pledge

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Steve Spurrier & Co. picked up the top player in the state of South Carolina as Lexington (S.C.) wide receiver Shaq Roland decided Saturday evening to end the recruiting process and select the Gamecocks.

"It's finally done," Roland posted on his Facebook page, according to TheBigSpur.com. "I've committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks."

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Roland is the 13th commitment for South Carolina's Class of 2012 and the third receiver in a week to commit to the program.

His verbal pledge means Spurrier has received a commitment from the top in-state player for the fourth year in a row, following Jadeveon Clowney in 2010, Marcus Lattimore in 2009 and Stephon Gilmore in 2008.

Roland is ranked 20th overall in the class by MaxPreps and given a five-star rating by Tom Lemming. He had 66 receptions for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns last season as a junior and is considered a very good basketball prospect as well.
Posted on: July 9, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:32 pm

Fuller commits to South Carolina

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It wasn't all fun and games at The Opening this week in Oregon, at least not for Monroe (S.C.) receiver Jody Fuller, who made a serious decision and committed to South Carolina on national TV Friday night.

“I just like the relationship that I had with my coaches,” Fuller told TheBigSpur.com afterwards. “(Jay Graham), Steve Spurrier Jr. and the program period and where they are going. It was great that they were on me since I was a sophomore in high school and wanted me to be a part of their program for so long.”

The 6-foot, 205-pounder is part of a recent run of receivers to commit to the Gamecocks over the past few weeks. Fuller held offers from Arkansas, Miami, Michigan, West Virginia and others but the fit in South Carolina's offense was just too good to pass up.

“It’s a good offense for me and what I do,” he said. “In that slot position, I think I can really do something.”

Fuller is the fourth commitment this week for the program and 12th overall. The talented slot receiver caught 77 passes for 845 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior.
Posted on: July 9, 2011 1:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:33 pm

The Opening: Day 3 -- Pads and 7-on-7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Day three of The Opening could not have turned out any better for the assembled campers as wall-to-wall 7-on-7 action and a lineman challenge took place on a picturesque day at the Nike campus.

After NFL players and Nike coaching staff members drafted teams from the nearly 150 players at the event on Thursday night, the pressure was on to gel quickly during round-robin play all day Friday. One of the consistent playmakers at the event with his blazing speed, fluid routes and soft hands was Tampa (Fla.) athlete Nelson Agholor.

A threat at multiple positions on the field, the talented Floridian was a touchdown threat every time he touched the ball on offense. Despite standing out on the field, it was hard to get him to talk about himself off it as he personified the definition of a team player.

"Yeah, I hope we have a good one the next day. We're ready to go and play hard," Agholor said. "We've got a great team."

NFL stars Josh Freeman of Agholor's local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe were the honorary coaches of “Team Alpha Talon.” The 7-on-7 setting provided the players they picked a chance to spread the field and allow players such as Agholor to go up and make plays.

"We were blessed with two great coaches that put a bunch of athletes on the team," Agholor said. "We're going to do well. There's not one bad guy on our team. Everyone on our team is really good."

Featuring quarterback Chad Kelly (committed to Clemson), receiver Bralon Addison (Texas A&M) and  running back Duke Johnson (Miami) among others, Agholor's team was one of the best in the field. Boasting players from 10 states, the all-star squad was an opportunity for Agholor and others to bond with players they had only heard about.

"These are guys you want to compete against everyday,” he said. “They say everyone around the nation is getting better, these are the guys that they're talking about. Now we're all together having fun and winning together."

Ranked 22nd overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, schools such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas and USC are heavily pursuing the talented athlete as both a receiver and defensive back. With so much attention on the recruiting trail, Agholor is almost to the point where he narrows his list down to a more manageable five to 10.

"I have sort of an idea of a shorter list," he said. "That's between me and my coaches and parents right now. We're going to work something out and hopefully narrow it down soon.

"There's many things I'm looking for. When I first started recruiting, it was all about people and their morals, that was always number one. Academics is number two because I feel like there's a degree out there for everyone, it's up to you to go get it."

In terms of a decision, that will be awhile for the five-star athlete.

"I think I want to sign on National Signing Day," Agholor said. "I really want to think this all through. Schools know, who I'm in contact with, they know what type of interest is coming in and if not, I'm going to make it a little bit clearer soon."

Miller enjoys getting some pad work

While most of the skill position athletes were playing games, the big fellas down in the trenches were also having some fun and it came in something unique to The Opening: pads.

"It was fun, I haven't put pads on in awhile since I didn't play in the spring game," West Palm Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Patrick Miller said. "It was sweet, I got a little hitting time in."

Armed with full shoulder pads and helmets, the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive linemen were one of the highlights of the camp. For some players, such as Miller, who have largely been without contact, it did take a bit of an adjustment.

"Definitely, you're getting the cob webs out," he said. "You kind of forget how to pass set or something like that. But you're with all these great coaches and stuff and you get your technique back to where it was and everything. It's just part of getting ready for the season."

Working with former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley among others, the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Miller has been able to pickup plenty of small tips and tricks that should serve him well going into his senior year.

"There's just so many small, miscellaneous things," Miller said. "I mean a pro tells you, and you're like, alright and you listen to him then. The only people I like to listen to is my head coach, my position coach but obviously, if an NFL player says it, you know it's right."

As one of the top offensive tackles in South Florida, Miller has offers from just about every SEC school, as well as Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami and others. He has taken several unofficial visits recently and will likely take a few more between now and trimming his list down.

"I think I'm going to narrow it down in the middle of the season," Miller said. "I know I'm going to visit Oklahoma and North Carolina. I've already visited Auburn, LSU and Tennessee and Florida too. I liked them all a lot, I liked Auburn a lot obviously. After taking these visits, I definitely was thinking I wanted to commit somewhere but now I realize I just want to wait and weigh my options. There might be something better out there for me."
Mangum sharp again in 7-on-7 setting

If you wanted to have a good 7-on-7 team at an event like this, you needed to pick a good quarterback. Noted quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr., who has worked Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton among others, was in charge of drafting “Team Vapor Carbon” with rookie Patrick Peterson. It's no surprise that Whitfield's acumen was on the money as Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum was the top signal caller throughout the day.

"I'm just doing my best to make them look good," Mangum said. "I know they're talented, they're playmakers, so I'm just doing my best to make good decisions and keep up with them. It's an honor to be playing with them so I don't want to make them look bad."

Mangum team featured Notre Dame-bound receiver Deontay Greenberry, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis and plenty of other impressive skill position players. Being able to throw to such a talented group was nice for the 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback but that wasn't the biggest take away from the event.

"There's so many things but I think it's forming relationships with these guys," Mangum said. "These are the top players from across the country and you wouldn't have any other chance to meet them but here. It's an honor to be considered among them and it's been even better getting to know them."

As a BYU commitment for several months, Mangum is one of several players who are already dead-set on their college of choice. With 11 players on his team who have not made a commitment and plenty more at the event, there has surprisingly not been many conversations asking him for advice on the recruiting process.

"Not too much," he said. "Everyone here is pretty set in where they're going, there's a few guys that aren't committed. There aren't any here, but I'm doing my best to recruit some guys to get to the "Y." Dylan Collie and I are working together to get some guys to BYU. There's some big recruits that have committed there and I think that 2012 recruiting class will be pretty good."

The recruiting class that the pair is apart of is the Cougar's first as a football independent. The opportunity to go out on their own and the advantages with that are a big draw for several recruits according to Mangum.

"I think it's helping a lot, it's a big positive," he said. "It allows us to play some big time teams on national television and I think guys draw to that and want to play for that. It's helping out a lot."

The Opening is not the only national competition Mangum is taking part in. He will head down to Pepperdine in a little over a week for the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp, something he lights up when asked about it.

"I'm very excited," Mangum said. "I've grown up watching that since I was a kid and it's always been a dream of mine. So it's a dream come true for sure."

Dawson sees two recruiting him hard

One of the more physically imposing defenders on the field was 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker Nick Dawson. Flying across the country from Charlotte (N.C.) to the Nike campus was no problem for the talented athlete as he's having a blast so far at The Opening.

"Everything's great," Dawson said. "It's so unique it doesn't make sense. And every day it gets better and better. I'm just out here to compete with the top 150 and I'm doing going good."

Like many players, the opportunity to interact and learn from NFL players has been a moment that often leaves Dawson in awe as he receives tips from the best of the best.

"I'm just getting coached up, you can't ask for any more than this,” he said. “Aaron Curry is out here coaching the linebackers Ray Rice with the running backs. Dwayne Bowe with the receivers, there's just so many unique athletes out here."

Holding offers from schools such as Arkansas, Auburn, Miami, USC and others, Dawson is trying to begin the arduous task of narrowing down his list of programs he is considering.

"Everything is going great with my recruiting," he said. "I'm trying to narrow it down but I don't really have a top five right now."

Just because it's tough to limit his options going forward, doesn't mean a few schools aren't standing out.

"Louisville and Clemson are recruiting me the hardest," he said. "I went to Clemson's camp and Louisville's also. They were great, everything was great. Both of the schools were perfect. I'm just trying to figure out which one is the best, best, best for me. I'm in the process of doing that right now."

Dawson had entertained thoughts of committing during The Opening but could not decide on a school enough to give his verbal pledge. He said he was unsure when he would eventually pull the trigger and commit.


- It wasn't a great day of football for USC commitment Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. He banged his head against another player while making a play for a ball and ended up having to sit out most of the day (against his wishes it should be noted) after receiving stitches above his eye.

"Four. It wasn't too bad," Cope-Fitzpatrick said before getting to the bad news. "If football doesn't work out, I'm trying to be a model for Nike."

- Oregon commit Jake Rodrigues struggled mightily during 7-on-7, tossing more interceptions than touchdowns and misreading the defense a few times. He was able to throw the ball better as the day went on but he just wasn't as sharp as he was yesterday.

- USF-bound tight end Sean Price has performed well in 7-on-7 events before and did so once again Friday afternoon. He was able to use his big frame and speed to create mismatches and was a nice target in the red zone.

- All-around athlete Cedric Dozier is really rangy as a defensive back. He grabbed quite a few interceptions, including a nice one off Cal commit Zach Kline. Top ten defensive back Landon Collins also impressed in the secondary.

-  Number one ranked running back Johnathan Gray is a special back. Known for his rushing skills, he was explosive out of the backfield and displayed some soft hands. He lined up next to future Texas teammate Connor Brewer and the pair definitely had some chemistry out on the field.

- Tight end Taylor McNamara, headed to Arizona, had a really nice day and went up and caught some throws that very few people could get to. Ray Rice jokingly started calling him Todd Heap after making so many plays.

- The play of the day came from receiver Jaydon Mickens. The USC-bound athlete took a short pass and turned it into a 40+ yard touchdown by traversing the field three times and leaving several defenders unable to move. Even speedy Dwayne Bowe was impressed and quite excited about the play.

Posted on: July 7, 2011 8:11 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 9:03 pm

Wideout Smith is number 11 for the Gamecocks

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A week after South Carolina receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. landed tight end Kelvin Rainey, the talented recruiter and head coach's son picked up yet another commitment from a talented pass catcher in Dillon (S.C.) receiver Kwinton Smith.

“I had good chemistry with Coach Spurrier Jr. and all of the coaches,” Smith told TheBigSpur.com. “It is close to home and my family would be able to come and watch me play. South Carolina has a great program and they have good academics. It is a good home basically.” 

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound wide out held offers from nearly every SEC school as well as from Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Clemson and others. With a body-type similar to Alshon Jeffrey, the Gamecocks are hoping that Smith is an able replacement once the star receiver leaves Columbia.

“I know that I have big shoes to fill at the receiver position,” Smith said. “I’m just going to work hard to try to become the player that Alshon is. I’m going to stay out of trouble and do what is right.” 

Smith is the 11th commitment for the Gamecocks in the class of 2012 and caught 45 passes for 830 yards and 15 touchdowns. Six of South Carolina's commitments are on the offensive side of the ball.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 1:58 pm

SEC RB commits show loyalty at the barber's

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In this era of high-profile decommitments, last-minute switches and general suspicion of anything a recruit says before things become official on Signing Day, it can be tough for big-time recruits to prove their loyalties.

But a pair of Georgia running backs bound for the SEC may have found a way. Short of getting a tattoo -- and who wants a tattoo when the newest college football scandal could bring down your future coach at any time? -- there's probably no gesture that says "Yes, I am fully committed to my school of choice" like getting that school's name shaved into your head, right?

Earlier this week, we already showed you Blackshear (Ga.) fullback and Georgia commitment Quayvon Hicks doing exactly that:

But it's possible Hicks has been one-upped by Hillgrove tailback Kenyan Drake, an Alabama commit who now proudly features the Tide logo on the back of his head:

Let us doubt these fine young men's commitments no more, and humbly ask that a future Wyoming commitment somewhere is paying attention.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com